The 6'6", 225-pound Balog started 12 games for San Francisco in 2012, finishing 4-4 with a 3.43 ERA. His 57-to-31 K:BB ratio in 78.2 innings is underwhelming, considering his electric trio of pitches. He sit anywhere from 93-97 with his fastball, and possesses two "wipeout" pitches – a slider and changeup. Both have a chance to become plus pitches in the future. He also has good sink on his fastball and decent command, despite what his numbers suggest.
Scouts cited poor conditioning as the main culprit of his inconsistent 2012 performance, but apparently he's worked extremely hard this off-season to get his body in shape. If the "flashes of brilliance" he showed during the 2012 season occur on a regular basis, Balog could vault his way into the first round. Not to mention his drool-worthy frame.
Watching Balog perform in 2013 will be one of my favorite activities of the college season (along with sleeping with Carlos Rodon .gifs under my pillow). If you get a chance to watch Balog pitch this season, DO IT. As of today, he's probably more of a 3.1 candidate, than 2.1, but I expect him to be in the 2.1 conversation before the season ends.
UPDATE (5/25): Balog didn't have as dominant of season as I wanted to see, but he was effective enough to solidify himself as a second-round prospect.
Major League Floor
Because two of his pitches – fastball and slider – are already on the verge of plus, he has the makings of a late-inning reliever if starting doesn't work out.
UPDATE (5/25): Balog has done nothing to alter his Major League Floor.
Major League Ceiling
He has a great pitcher's frame, the ability to generate weak contact, and the potential for three plus pitches. He has the upside of a number two starter.
UPDATE (5/25): He still has number two upside. He reminds me of Jarred Cosart in a lot of ways. They both have similar Major League ceilings and floors. Both have better stuff than their performances show.
Projected Draft Round
He's projected to go anywhere from late-first to early-third.
Will He Sign?
I don't see a scenario where he doesn't.
*This profile was originally published as a FanPost, on February 17*.
The University of San Francisco has produced some good pitching talent over the years, from first-rounder Aaron Poreda in 2007 to Kyle Zimmer, the No. 5 pick in the 2012 Draft. And while he might not quite be at that level, Balog has the chance to follow that duo's lead in 2013.
USF's Saturday starter has the chance to have three Major League average or better pitches, with a fastball that touches 93 mph with some sink, a sharp slider that has good bite when he stays on top of it and a deceptive changeup with fade and sink.
There's room for strength in Balog's 6-foot-6 frame, and with some improved command, he has the chance to be a big league starter in the future.